The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Breathing exercises

Throughout your surgery, one of our anaesthetists will look after your breathing while you are asleep. You can help them, by practicing deep breathing exercises before your operation to help lower the risk of developing a chest infection after your surgery. You can do this by taking a deep breath in, holding it for three seconds and then breathing out. The exercises will also help to open up your airways and move phlegm.

To deep breathe correctly, you must use your abdominal muscles, as well as your chest muscles.

  • Breathe in through your nose as deeply as possible.
  • Hold your breath for five to 10 seconds.
  • Let your breath out through your mouth, slowly and completely. As you breathe with pursed lips (like blowing out a candle), your stomach should be going in. Exhale twice as long as you inhale.
  • Rest and then repeat these steps